Peak milk not yet seen â€“ Wilson. PAGE 3 PLUG-ANDPLAY EV Niro coming PAGE 32
JUNE 12, 2018 ISSUE 402 // www.dairynews.co.nz
Empowering farmers PAGE 29
Peak milk not yet seen – Wilson. PAGE 3 PLUG-ANDPLAY
Empowering farmers PAGE 29
EV Niro coming PAGE 32
JUNE 12, 2018 ISSUE 402 // www.dairynews.co.nz
CO-OP BOUNCES BACK “We’re now seeing improved sales and a better sales outlook.” – Westland Milk chairman Pete Morrison PAGE 14
RURAL MEDIA HABITS THE FACTS! Per•ceptive
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● 77% of farmers use rural print for business and research
● 90% of farmers act as a result of reading rural print
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● 82% of farmers are influenced by rural print
The Rural Media Habits Survey 2018 is independent research conducted by Perceptive Research on behalf of the majority of rural publishers. Participants were screened to exclude lifestylers and ensure a robust sample of 820 Commercial Farmers. Results show the majority of farmers read rural print, find it highly relevant to their businesses, and that it influences their purchasing decisions more than all other media.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
NEWS // 3
Milk, cow peaks ‘not yet seen’ PAM TIPA email@example.com
Water plan launch. PG.06
Digesting feed trial lessons. PG.22
WE HAVE not reached peak milk
in New Zealand, says Fonterra chairman John Wilson. “Nor, I hope, have we have reached peak cow,” he told the Jersey NZ conference in Whangarei last week. “I am very pleased to hear [our political leaders’] language has changed over the last six months,” Wilson says. But he warns the industry that its growth will be much less than during the last 20 years.
There is much more talk now about the impact of nutrients in certain catchments, he says. “There is no doubt that we all want to improve our waterways, and that in some catchments waterways are under more pressure than others. “That is why Fonterra committed to the 50 catchments initiative which is collecting data -- alongside DairyNZ and NIWA and others -- to be able to make informed decisions and be able to support decisions being made in those catchments already.” In some areas farming practices
will have to change “quite dramatically” to lower the nutrient loadings, and in other areas there is less impact. The problem at the moment is they are playing catch-up, Wilson says. “Many of you are starting to see the science emerging; new initiatives emerging which will provide solutions for us. “It feels we are still a bit behind [with] true breakthrough technologies here, but I believe they will come based on what I have seen. “Some areas are going to be a lot TO PAGE 5
Fonterra chairman John Wilson at the JerseyNZ conference last week.
NOTHING WRONG WITH A1 MILK – WILSON
Rapped with wrapping unit. PG.32
NEWS������������������������������������������������������ 3-17 OPINION����������������������������������������������18-19 AGRIBUSINESS����������������������������� 20-21 MANAGEMENT�������������������������������22-25 ANIMAL HEALTH�������������������������� 26-28 SOUTH ISLAND DAIRY EVENT�������������������������������������������������29-30 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS��������������������������������������� 31-34
ASKED IF Jersey farmers should start breeding for A2 milk – achieveable within five years in Jerseys but at a price in genetic diversity – John Wilson advises, “select for the animals which would give the best genetic gain – full stop”. “There is nothing wrong with A1 milk, never has been, never will be based on all the science we have seen,” says Wilson. “If you go back to the decisions our predecessors made on A1 versus A2 – to simplify it right down – the science hasn’t changed. We have seen numerous studies but we haven’t seen conclusive evidence anywhere
or a case made that A2 milk is better than A1 milk. “Trials with some people with more sensitive stomachs show they may benefi from A2 over A1 milk, but the science is inconclusive. “We have seen an absolute change in global dairy markets where consumers and consumer preferences change very quickly; they can be influenced by nonscience claims…. and by opinion leaders, for example. “That reflects the good job A2 has done in positioning their brand. We have decided after discussion to go into a licence and or a royalty arrangement
with A2 with some products in some markets.” Fonterra management is analysing where demand will be in those markets and the products on which it has come to an agreement with A2. “When we have come to a view on where demand should be, then we will go to farmers alongside those plants where we believe we can most efficiently produce whatever that product is. “And then we will price that milk accordingly. “But the whole idea is the benefits will flow also across the whole cooperative.”
Wilson believes farmers should continue making breeding decisions based on the genetics that will give them the most overall gain across their business. He personally won’t be selecting A2 over A1 because of all the science he sees. “There is no less demand for A1 milk; what we are seeing in some markets is a niche opportunity for A2. Farmers need to make their own decisions and we will let farmers know, as soon as we have market demand-driven information, in certain pockets around the countryside.”
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
4 // NEWS
Time for strugglers to sell? NIGEL MALTHUS
farmers may be under pressure from their banks to sell up on the rising farm market to get out of their debt. “Reading between the lines, it might be a case of the banks suggesting to the perennial strugglers that it is time to sell up,” said Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard. Banks may have been waiting “until things are looking rosy” on farm prices before encouraging customers to look at their
options. Hoggard was commenting on the May 2018 Federated Farmers’ Banking Survey, which showed that more farmers are feeling under financial pressure, and are less satisfied with their banks. The proportion of farmers reporting “undue pressure” from their banks has also risen. The twice-yearly survey drew 1004 responses, more than double those in the last survey in November 2017. While Hoggard noted that “a helluva lot” of farmers were still satisfied with their banks, the
number ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ has fallen from 81% to 79% since November. Sharemilkers, especially, dropped markedly, to 68.5% satisfied, down from 77%. Perceptions of ‘undue pressure’ were up from 8.1% in November to 9.6% in May. The increase was mainly in dairy, especially sharemilkers: their perceptions of undue pressure rose from 9.7% to 13.5%, although that was still lower than the one in five reported in 2016. The average mortgage in farming has fallen in the last six months, but for dairy it was up from
FEED SYSTEMS SINCE 1962
$4.6 million to $5.1m -the highest since the surveys began in August 2015. “We need to be careful interpreting these figures,” said Hoggard. “It may just reflect the profile of those who took part in the May survey compared to November participants. “But it’s a fact that dairy holds two-thirds of the total agricultural debt of about $61 billion, and a growing proportion of that dairy debt is held by highly indebted dairy farms.” Hoggard said dairy debt has been discussed continually in his time at the top of Federated Farmers. “The Reserve Bank has been talking about it for a good number of years.” New Zealand farm debt is high by international standards but the climate is pretty settled and farms generally have good systems. “Part of their risk mitigation in Australia is they don’t carry much debt, so
when a big drought hits they are able to buffer themselves to a degree.” The Reserve Bank, in its six-monthly Financial Stability Report this week, continues to regard dairy debt as a financial stability risk. “On the positive side,” said Hoggard, “the Reserve Bank observed that better and more stable dairy prices mean most dairy farms are currently profitable, allowing some farms to repay some debt. “But it warned that dairy farming remains highly indebted and vulnerable to any future downturn in dairy prices. It identified Mycoplasma bovis as an emerging risk that has potential to negatively impact productivity and profitability, and noted that dairy faces longterm challenges including the impact of response to environmental concerns, such as stricter regulations.”
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NEW ZEALAND Bankers’ Association deputy chief executive Antony Buick-Constable is pleased the survey showed most farmers remain satisfied with their banks. “Banks work closely with their agri clients, through good times and bad. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to the ongoing success of farmers and their banks,” Buick-Constable said. The survey, by Research First, also shows interest rates appear broadly stable, although sharemilkers continue to pay higher rates than farm owners, reflecting their relatively lower levels of security. Just under one third of all farms report having detailed and up-to-date budgets for the season about to begin, but as usual sharemilkers did better in that: two-thirds have a budget in place.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
NEWS // 5
Farmers can set a global model DAIRYNZ SAYS the
industry has a vital role to play in helping transition New Zealand to a lowemissions economy. “We look forward to the certainty that the Zero Carbon Act, once introduced, will provide the dairy sector,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. The Government last week launched nationwide public meetings to hear people’s views. Minister for Climate Change James Shaw says momentum is building for the Zero Carbon Bill. “Communities, businesses, farmers, iwi and ordinary New Zealanders... are already doing what they can to reduce emissions or are ready to get on board and help draw up our plan to reduce NZ’s impact on the climate.” Shaw will visit National Fieldays on Thursday to talk to farmers and encourage their feedback. Consultation on the Bill runs for six weeks at 14 regional public meetings. Shaw is expected to attend most of the meetings. Mackle says all sectors need to be aligned and accountable towards a common goal which will see NZ achieve a low
working in this carbon economy. way. “The Minis“Agricultural try for the Enviemissions are ronment [will] a challenge for ensure farmers’ the global food voices are heard sector, and NZ in the consultais front-foottion, and we want Tim Mackle ing this opporthat to continue tunity to show the world and be reflected in the it is possible to produce final policy.” milk in an emissions-conDairyNZ will this scious way. month hold regional cli“This is our chance to mate change workshops set a global standard.” for dairy farmers, including government officials talking about the Zero Carbon Bill. “Farmers will gain an understanding of the Zero Carbon Bill and leave the workshops knowing how their farm contributes to NZ’s greenhouse gas profile and how specific initiatives can improve their farm’s broader environmental footprint,” says Mackle. “Our focus is mitigation and adaptation, but education is the first step [so that] every farmer understands how to run their farm in a way most suitable for their land and region. “Planning for our future as an agricultural nation requires planning for a different climate while doing all we can to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions. “Many farmers are already thinking and
PEAKS ‘NOT YET SEEN’ FROM PAGE 1
harder than others to truly lower the impact in certain waterways.” And we will get much less growth than has been achieved in NZ dairy during the last 20 years, Wilson says. “There is a one-in-20-year change going on at the moment. As good farmers, you have had access to capital and access to land for growth. “We know that because of banking changes it is harder for many farmers to attract capital into their businesses currently; this could well change again -- we have seen both cycles before.
“But certainly we see we are having to change farming practices and there is less land available for conversion and change than in the past. “So we are forecasting much lower growth going forward; we see ourselves carefully using our innovations, our technologies that we use in NZ, and our other milk globally, to support our customer demand. “And remember we have had to build significant plants and capacity because we have had a requirement under legislation to do so: the moment a farmer gets a twinkle in his eye about producing more milk
we have had to put a plant there for them. “We think the times of building scale ingredients plants has probably changed to a focus on food service and consumer plants that are truly market driven. That is what you have seen over the last 24 months or so.” Wilson believes the NZ dairy industry will continue to see milk growth but it will be slower. He has no doubt ways will be found to adapt our farming systems. “But the growth we have enjoyed say between 2009 and 2015 will [have been] a one-off period of growth.”
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
6 // NEWS
Double D’s launch water plan MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
THE DOUBLE-D’S were front and centre at Karapiro, Waikato, recently
Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor with Cambridge farmers Bill and Sue Garland.
to promote a voluntary water quality initiative. David Parker and Damien O’Connor, ministers for the environment and agriculture, respectively, joined indus-
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try leaders to endorse the Good Farming PracticeAction Plan for Water Quality 2018. The plan was developed largely from principles set out in the 2015 Industry-Agreed Management Practices first applied by Environment Canterbury. The voluntary initiative is led by Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy NZ, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ and people from regional councils and regulatory authorities. The chief aim is to help make rivers swimmable and to improve the ecology of waterways, so the plan advocates good farming practices -assessing individual and regional catchments, measuring and showing improvements and telling the public about progress. At grassroots level this will see workable plans being drawn up to identify physical and topographical constraints, and identify land where cropping should cease because of erosion risks. The plan includes keeping accu-
rate records of inputs and outputs, and managing run-off, sediments and nutrients entering waterways. Environment Minister David Parker applauded the voluntary nature of the plan and conceded that regulation “might not be the b-all and endall”. But he said rules and regulations would be part of the solution, as would better education and perhaps “pricing” to influence behaviour. Parker’s former flatmate Minister Damien O’Connor noted “the need for guidelines in tune with the environment, and for a part of the social licence that allows landowners to operate”. NZ agriculture and horticulture needs to be the best producer in the world, he said, with their output “food for people who care, produced by farmers and growers who care”. The plan now is to spend the next two years enlisting farms and local and regional authorities in a campaign going through to 2030.
PARTNERSHIP APPROACH DAIRYNZ SAYS the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality shows dairy and other farmers working together to improve water quality. The scheme is important for having been developed and agreed to by central and local government and the primary sector, said Dr David Burger, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader – responsible dairy. “This partnership approach is essential to improve water quality, a goal shared by all. “Many farmers have already done a huge amount of work to improve their farm environmental practices over the last decade, including stock exclusion from waterways, effluent management and nutrient management; this action plan will build on that.” The plan’s 21 principles include nutrient management, minimising risks to water quality, managing land and soil risks, ensuring effluent systems are adequate and managing irrigation. “Farm plans have practical, specific actions for each property, considering climate, soil and the farm system,” said Burger. “But those actions will align with the national set of principles set out by this action plan and target the key things that will make the biggest difference in each catchment and for all land users.”
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
M.BOVIS UPDATE // 7
‘Now we’ll move faster’ PETER BURKE email@example.com
THE MAN heading MPI’s response to Mycoplasma bovis says more decisions will now be made at a local level rather than referring every matter back to MPI in Wellington. However, decisions on whether to cull an infected herd will still be made at MPI headquarters. With the decision made to eradicate M.bovis, Roger Smith visited Ashburton to find out at first hand the issues in MPI’s response that were frustrating farmers. He intended to meet farmers and his staff to learn what MPI is doing well and what it could do better. He says with the decision to eradicate M.bovis, the nature of MPI’s response will be streamlined in a timely review of the ministry’s processes and procedures. It’s the sort of thing any business would do, he said. “The main roadblock as far as farmers were concerned was the need for MPI to make decisions faster and at a local level, [for example]: when can a farmer whose animals have been culled get new stock back on the prop-
Roger Smith, BiosecurityNZ
erty; or a farmer getting permission to graze animals alongside the road or getting in feed. “These smaller operational decisions take some of the stress off the farmers and at Ashburton I have put in two senior MPI staff to deal with such matters,” Smith says. But he says decisions on whether a herd will be culled will still be made in Wellington where MPI has its laboratory and specialist staff to deal with major issues. He notes that until the decision was made to eradicate M.bovis, there was lot of angst among farmers over the uncertainty they were facing.
“Now that we have a decision, everyone has to be game-ready so we can help them. That means the meat processing plants, the trucking companies and the feed suppliers all have to be ready; there are a lot of logistics to be sorted out. “Of the farmers I have talked to, many are concerned about the future and what this all means and obviously those who are directly affected have special concerns.” To help farmers cope with M.bovis, MPI is quickly recruiting and training more people. The next week will see an additional 50 staff in the field nationwide. These will be ‘farmer facing staff’ – people who understand what a
farm plan is all about and how a farm works. “We need experienced people who can relate to farmers, not kids out of school,” Smith says. He points out that the eradication programme now has industry buy-in and he expects them to start playing a bigger role. “It is their members, their suppliers, their cooperative owners, their levy papers; so we expect to see industry right at the centre of everything we are doing.” Smith says he was very disappointed with some media coverage in recent weeks which pitted farmers against farmers. There were reports of bullying of children of farmers whose properties were confirmed as having M.bovis, and angst between neighbours. And he says it’s time to stop bickering about whether or not to eradicate the disease. “Everybody knows what the decision is. Now is the time for farming and rural communities to do what they are good at -- rally around their mates.” Smith says he has picked up from farmers that there will be no more cash sales of calves; farmers agree this must end now. @dairy_news
CHANGE OR FACE THE LAW – GOVT FARMERS’ STANCE on biosecurity is going to
have to change, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in a recent television interview. He told Q&A that the previous government had gone softly softly on prosecutions of breaches of NAIT instead of sending a clear, strong message -for the right reasons. Now he insists his and MPI’s stance will be enforcement when the law is blatantly ignored. O’Connor ssays farmers now appreciate that we are all in the same boat, needing good traceability systems and biosecurity. “If we do this together we will have a more robust system. Clearly there have been failures but it’s no good pointing fingers now; we have to focus on the future.” He doesn’t blame dairy farmers for the way the industry has expanded; the law and the circumstances were lax and farmers grew the industry as they saw fit. “The signals to farmers were a bit mixed and muddled; we have tried to make clear to them that we want to get more from what they do now, which means more value from the raw products they produce. “The previous government said ‘double exports’ so everyone just rushed out to double their efforts; but in fact what we really needed to do was focus on more value from what we were doing. That is the focus of our government.” – Peter Burke
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
8 // M.BOVIS UPDATE
Second round of milk tests loom NIGEL MALTHUS
FARMERS WILL undergo another
national round of bulk milk testing in spring as the campaign to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis ramps up. And a programme yet to be devised will be needed to test beef cattle, a public meeting in the North Canterbury town of Cheviot has heard. It was the first of a new series of roadshows since the decision was made to try for complete eradication of the disease. About 200 attended the standing room-only meeting, in a region with few dairy farms and where the only confirmed infected property so far was a beef fattening operation. BiosecurityNZ veterinarian Eve Pleydell said another big bulk milk testing round would go ahead in spring. One unanswered question was on animals perhaps exposed as calves but
milking for the first time. The testing round would use both of the tests now in use, said Pleydell. She explained that the pcr test looked for the bacterium in samples such as milk, blood, semen and sputum, but needed to be repeated because infected animals were not constantly shedding. The second, the ELISA test, looked for an immune response. It showed that an animal had been exposed to the bacterium, not necessarily that it is immune to it. It could give false positives to other Mycoplasmas, so had to be confirmed by pcr. ELISA had been used on blood until now but would be adapted for use on milk during the spring bulk milk testing. Pleydell said some form of national beef surveillance would also be needed now that eradication had been decided on. But it was yet to be determined how that could be done.
Tonsils had been identified as a reservoir for the bacteria but until now swabbing tonsils was only an option at slaughter. They were working with Massey University try to get a technique for live sampling. “We haven’t done so much yet in the beef industry,” said Pleydell. “We did work with the big feedlot down here in the South Island. About 700 source farms go into that feedlot and we did quite a bit of blood testing there and none of those blood tests came up positive.” Asked during question time when the eradication programme would be reviewed to determine whether it remained feasible, BiosecurityNZ head Roger Smith identified the spring milking as the first big milestone, when stressed animals would be shedding. Smith said phased eradication allowed farmers the chance to eradicate to a schedule suitable to them. Some farmers wanted to cull imme-
BiosecurityNZ vet Dr Eve Pleydell speaks to Cheviot farmers last week.
diately while others would delay it, such as for winter milking or to fatten calves to the 100kg mark. “We want to work with each farmer who’s impacted to design an individualised plan so it’s owned by the farmer and owned by his farm advisors so he can work though this the best way he can.” The cost of $886 million would be spread over 10 years through a levy process and across the industry not just infected properties, working out at only a few cents a kilo, he said.Longterm management instead of eradication could cost 2% in production year on year.
Smith emphasised that the disease still appeared to be confined to about 1% of the national herd. “We know we have one strain, three clusters. It started in one place so we have an opportunity to go for eradication.” Pleydell said infection came from close and prolonged contact between animals. When the first cluster was identified in South Canterbury they were worried for the 65 neighbours of the 17 farms in the Van Leeuwen Group. Pleydell said the neighbours were all tested three times but the only one to come back positive had resulted from cattle intermingling after a breach of the fence.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
M.BOVIS UPDATE // 9
‘Eradication likely to succeed’ PETER BURKE firstname.lastname@example.org
not be having nightmares about Mycoplasma bovis, says a technical expert. Associate-professor Richard Laven, Massey University, is a veterinarian widely experienced in dealing with the disease in the UK, in particular
back to one source. According to Laven, success in eradicating M.bovis will largely depend on farmers honestly coming forward and saying they may have the disease or have animals on their farm which trace back to the suspected, but as yet unproven, source -the Zeestraten farms in Southland. “There is the possi-
lost in detecting M.bovis because animals could not be easily tracked down. The sale of calves for cash, with no records kept, has been a problem. In NZ’s favour is its being an island and having a largely outdoor farming system. Indoor housing systems such as
Richard Laven, Massey University
in Europe where animals are kept close together allow disease to spread faster, Laven says. For example, in NZ <1% of sick calves have pneumonia, whereas in Europe pneumonia accounts for 20-30% of disease in calves. The same could apply to M.bovis in NZ.
Laven says he suspects the use of ‘waste milk’ will prove to have been significant in the spread of M.bovis in NZ. NZ is the first country to try to eradicate M. bovis. Australia, where only 4% of herds are infected, could attempt eradication but there is less pressure for that as
“Farmers have to say ‘I’m going to lose my cows for the benefit of NZ Inc; that’s the important farmer attitude.”
the disease has been there at least 40 years. Laven notes that Northern Ireland was also free of M.bovis until Britain joined the EU, but farmers fell to the temptation to buy cattle from Europe and with those cows came M.bovis. Then it spread to the Republic of Ireland.
WI T H T H E 300 O R 500 S ER I ES T R AC TO R
Scotland where he headed a laboratory specialising in the surveillance of diseases in farm animals, including M.bovis. He believes the Government has correctly decided to try to eradicate the disease and has a 90 - 95% probability of succeeding, notably because all the infections are the same strain of the bacteria and MPI appears to have identified a farm that is either the origin of the M.bovis outbreak or is close to it. Laven says if there were many farms likely to have been where the disease first landed in New Zealand, the task of eradication would be made much harder. But to date this hasn’t been so; all the incidences of M.bovis appear to be traceable
bility that people will be reluctant to come forward, so getting buy-in from Federated Farmers and other groups is vital,” says Laven. “There are complaints that only one cow on a farm was infected with M.bovis, but that’s not true. The reality is if one cow was found to be infected there may be 70 or 80 others that weren’t found. “You need farmer buyin. Farmers have to say ‘I’m going to lose my cows for the benefit of NZ Inc; that’s the important farmer attitude. You need people who are willing to take one for the team.” Laven says he fully appreciates that NAIT is a messy system that needs to be improved, but that a lot of time has been
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HOW TO STAY CLEAR NEW ZEALAND farmers must change the way they farm to keep their farms free of M.bovis, says Richard Laven. Many changes are quite simple, e.g. pasteurising colostrum and not using service bulls because the health status of such animals would be uncertain. “Treating the farm as an island and having a very strict biosecurity process is essential. We are talking of a closed herd system which is really important. But do not get too paranoid about people coming onto your farm. “Make sure they are clean and have a footbath to disinfect their clean boots. Don’t let people come on in dirty trucks but also don’t have nightmares about it,” Laven says. If a farmer can’t operate a closed system he should minimise risk by buying stock carefully: do careful homework on the farms and people he is buying animals from to make sure the stock are not infected. Farmers should also consider double fencing to keep stock from neighbouring farms at a safe distance. Laven is optimistic about phased eradication of M.bovis in NZ. Although many cattle will likely have to be slaughtered, in the wider scheme of things wiping out M.bovis will be in the long term interest.
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says you’re serious.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
10 // NEWS
Did M.bovis support GDT prices? PAM TIPA email@example.com
Doug Steel, BNZ
Steel says. It was a “fraction disappointing” but still reasonable in the context of the usual seasonal softness in June (after the northern hemisphere milk peak), a material pullback in oil prices over recent weeks and a strong finish to NZ’s milk season in autumn seeing Fonterra lift volumes at this event (including a 7.6% lift in wholemilk powder volumes). “Buyers bought more
Dairy prices dropped slightly at last week’s GDT auction.
$7 milk price forecast for the 2018-19 season. “But there is a long, long way to go, with the new season barely more than five days old. Our forecast for 2018-19 remains at $6.60 on the thinking that global dairy prices will drift lower in the year ahead.”
ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says the price softness may reflect firm NZ production during April. “Nationwide production for all processors came in 3.1% higher than in April 2017. That said, April production is modest compared to
other months accounting for about 7% of annual production.” Notably, at last week’s GDT milk fat prices were weak albeit after recent price strength. Butter prices fell 3.5% while anhydrous milk fat prices fell 1.7%. “However we suspect
the global butter shortage remains acute. The boost from April production is likely to be short-lived. Indeed, we still expect butter and/or anhydrous milk fat prices will set fresh record highs over the coming months.” Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins says while it was a soft reponse for the first GDT Event of the new 201819 production season, it is still 3% higher than the average index price (US$3395/t) last year. SMP’s fractional lift of 0.3% to US$2051/t is a good result given Oceania SMP is the most expensive worldwide. With WMP’s 1.1% softer result, more product was added for this event because of stronger milk production over the tail of the 2017-18 season. “So this result is not a material loss.”
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declines at last week’s Global Dairy Trade auction have been bigger had there not been a downside risk to future NZ production from Mycoplasma bovis and the plan to eradicate it, wonders BNZ senior economist Doug Steel. It is difficult to be sure, he says. “But it’s interesting to see a price premium built into the forward curve of whole milk powder (WMP) with near term pricing at US$3175/tonne while product into the heart of NZ’s season is priced as high as US$3275/t,” he told Dairy News. The overall GDT Price Index fall of 1.3% was a marginally bigger fall than the indicators suggested,
product but weren’t prepared to pay more for it. WMP prices eased 1.1%, with an average price of US$3205/t.” Skim milk powder (SMP) prices edged 0.3% higher, with an average price of US$2051. “Still a generally subdued level, but holding above US$2000/t as signals out of Europe become less downbeat including further reduction in the EU’s massive stockpile of SMP.” The marginal decline in dairy product prices along with the NZD/USD lifting a cent or so since the previous auction puts a mild drag on milk price calculations. “Dairy prices fell 3% when priced in NZD, partially unwinding the lift at the previous auction. So strictly there’s a hint of downside risk to Fonterra’s recently announced
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
12 // NEWS
Dairy conversion r NIGEL MALTHUS
A map of Simon Pass Station’s ‘landscape values’ prepared by DoC.
years of planning and red tape, a controversial large dairy conversion in the Mackenzie Basin is expected to be up and running next season, despite environmentalists’
ongoing opposition. Construction of the first of three planned dairy shes, and the main pipeline for an extensive irrigation system is now well underway on Simons Pass station. Owner Murray Valentine, a Dunedin accountant with other large
agricultural and commercial interests, says the main irrigation pipeline is now 50-60% complete and irrigation will start late October. Valentine has since 2003 worked on the various consenting requirements of ECan, the Mackenzie District Council and LINZ; and after six years effort he has gained Environment Court agreement; a large part of the property will go into a conservation area. This is why he doesn’t hide his frustration that Simons Pass is now the focus of a fast-growing online Greenpeace petition calling on the government to prohibit new dairy conversions. Greenpeace’s accompanying press release describes Simons Pass as “a major dairy incursion into wilderness coun-
try” and “a massive dairy operation for up to 15,000 cows”. Valentine says he has never had a plan to put 15,000 dairy cows on the farm. He does have a discharge consent for effluent for up to 15,000 cows but points out that like all consents it comes with the obligation to manage nutrient discharge using Overseer. “So we haven’t got an open slather to put 15,000 cows on the farm and just lift our fingers to everybody. “Saying that we’re doing 15,000 is a much better publicity thing than saying that we’ve got to complete an Overseer report, work out our nutrient discharge, and that will determine our stocking rate. That’s not what people want to hear if they’re on the Green-
Better late than never – Greenpeace GREENPEACE’S SUSTAINABLE agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says even dairy farmers are supporting their campaign against further intensification of dairying. “Several dairy farmers have contacted us on social media and identified themselves as dairy farmers, and totally agree with our campaign,” said Toop. “We haven’t really had that before, in our work.” Greenpeace in early May used aerial drone footage of the irrigation pipeline being built for the Simons Pass dairy conversion to launch a petition calling on the government to prohibit all new dairy conversions and further intensification of existing livestock farms. Toop said the petition was one of their fastestgrowing, recently passing 26,000 signatures. “We are highlighting what’s happening there because obviously the Mackenzie is not cow country. It’s dry, its soils are leaky and its very ecologically sensitive.” Although neither Greenpeace nor the EDS had been party to the Environment Court appeal giving the Simons Pass development the go-ahead, Greenpeace believes the fight isn’t over. “Better late than never,” said Toop. “It’s every New Zealander’s right to stand up and try to stop intensive dairying from ruining the Mackenzie and polluting our rivers and lakes.” Valentine’s claim that he would put only about 5000 dairy cows on the farm “has no standing” as long as the consent for effluent from 15,000 had not been terminated, she said. Nor did he yet have consents for all the planned dairy sheds. Greenpeace would also oppose freeholding under tenure review, in the belief that without freehold the project would be financially unviable. – Nigel Malthus
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
NEWS // 13
n right on track
A still from Greenpeace drone footage showing the main irrigation pipeline.
“It’s fortunate but it’s unfortunate. When we made the application to the commissioners for the consents we [reckoned on] probably 120 jobs on the farm. I [now] reckon we might have 60,” says Valentine. Technology such as virtual fencing with GPScontrolled collars on the stock is “very high on the capex list.” The key thing is getting the farm as efficient as possible, he says. “It’s a large property if you have to drive someone 10km to the end of the farm. Better to send a drone down, have a look, then come back.”
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Valentine says neither EDS nor Greenpeace chose to be part of the Environment Court process. “I’ve spent a lot of money; I’ve done a lot of planning; I’ve worked on the things we’ll do. And a month before we get into finally executing our proposal they come along and say ‘you shouldn’t be doing it’.” “We could have accommodated them if they’d had some different views to Forest and Bird, Mackenzie Guardians and Fish and Game and Meridian and Genesis who all were part of the legal appeal and all contributed to the work with the Environment Court.” Valentine says the dryland recovery area will be a massive undertaking. “You don’t see that being mentioned, but you do see the 15,000 cows – which we’re not going to do.” Meanwhile, the property is also going through tenure review in a process that may take a few more years. Valentine says it will have no effect on the conversion project except that if it goes through he would give up a further 1260ha to the Crown for conservation.
aside almost 40% of our farm for conservation areas.” It is made up of a 2500ha block including a 600m setback from the highway that will not be cultivated or farmed. He said it is a substantial investment in ecology and conservation. “We are going to take all the stock off that. We are required to rabbit fence it to control the rabbits and wilding trees and the other pests. That offer, for conservation, is a pretty serious part of what we’re doing.” Valentine said there is a risk that once that land is destocked, wilding plants and heiracium may come up, but that was the deal he agreed to with the organisations that had appealed the consent. “We’re happy with that. We’ll do what we have to do with that.” Meanwhile the Environmental Defence Society has also stepped in, declaring the Mackenzie one of its priorities for 2018. On its website it describes Simons Pass as “a 15,000 cow dairy development” and says it will investigate any further necessary consents, and litigate “where necessary to try to stop it”.
ASKED WHY he didn’t just keep running it as the traditional dry high-country Merino station it was, Murray Valentine points out that it made only $50 per stock unit. What little rain it got was usually not in the summer season when grass growth was needed for production. But by irrigating at 5mm/day for 120 days, November to March, dry matter production could be lifted from around 1t/ha to 20t/ha. “Okay, I could just sit there and do nothing, but that’s not my style,” says Valentine. “The property is primarily bare dirt, heiracium, and probably 20% exotic grasses and clover and 1% native plants. It is not a property you can do anything with unless you develop it. “It is not an iconic landscape. It is a very flat piece of land you generally can’t see from the road. And in the summer, with the wind, it just blows all the topsoil off to the Hakataramea.” Valentine emphasises the trade-off he agreed to -- when the irrigation consents were appealed to the Environment Court -- to set aside 2550ha for what is called a dryland recovery area. “That’s part of our irrigation consent. We have agreed to set
MASSIVE DRYLAND RECOVERY
1800 to 2000 cows. The farm will be selfcontained, producing all its own stock, including 1000 to 1500 replacement dairy and 4000 beef animals a year. It will also produce all its own feed on the irrigated land. Partly because of the restrictions placed on the development – including Mackenzie District Council rules against building staff accommodation – the farm looks like becoming among the most modern in the country. Driverless electric tractors, aerial drones and robotic milkers are being considered.
sites around the station, the Tekapo River and Maryburn Stream shows the project is unlikely, “certainly in the initial stages,” to have any impact on the waterways and groundwater. He said Overseer calculations now being worked on envisage a maximum of about 5500 dairy cows, up to 8000 animals in a beef finishing operation and 3000 to 4000 sheep. The development will take about seven years because the irrigation consents require it to be done incrementally. Eventually there will be three dairy sheds, each handling
peace side.” The property is 9600ha -- about 5500ha in pastoral lease and the balance freehold. It straddles SH8 just south of Lake Pukaki and is bounded by the Pukaki River to the west and the Mary Range to the east. A buried pipeline will bring water 8km from the Tekapo canal into the northern part of the farm and to two neighbouring farms. The main water flow then goes under the highway and down the middle of the Pukaki flats, which will be the largest part of the irrigated area. Valentine says monthly water monitoring of 10
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
14 // NEWS
Better payout promise NIGEL MALTHUS
Products is promising better things for the 201819 season, while conceding that this season’s payout will be disappointing. Westland, New Zealand’s second-biggest
dairy cooperative, predicts its payout to shareholder suppliers will be in the range $6.75 to $7.20/kgMS for 2018-19. The figure is in line with payout predictions of $7.00 from Fonterra and Synlait. Chairman Pete Morrison says the shareholders will welcome the predic-
tion; they are anticipating a payout in the range of $6.10 to $6.30 for 2017-18. “This is a disappointing result as it is not as competitive as we had originally told shareholders we would be,” Morrison said, “but a number of one-off factors contributed to this.” They included the
impact of former-tropical cyclone Fehi, estimated to have cost at least 10c/kgMS. Lyttelton Port strikes added to the cyclone’s disruption and meant Westland incurred higher freight costs. And quality issues, while now improved, were more extensive than at first thought and took longer
than expected to resolve. “We are now seeing improved sales and a better sales outlook; there is a much improved performance by our infant and toddler nutrition (ITN) and UHT plants; and consumer butter has been, and we believe will continue to be, a star performer.”
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in the coming year, with grass-fed growth showing even further potential. Westland is in a great position to take advantage of the growing demand for grass-fed dairy products.” To make butter, Westland had to find markets for its skim milk powder and that is also looking promising, he said. “We believe NZ SMP will continue to trade at a premium due to the global ITN demand.” “We are also benefitting, especially in the last few months, from finally having a complete executive leadership team. “Our chief executive Toni Brendish has been in the role for 20 months and one of her first actions was to restructure leadership of the company to have the right people in the right roles for the direction we wanted to go. “It’s taken a while to get all those people in place. “We have had the full team since just before Christmas last year and they are delivering, with real expectations of continued improvement going into 2018-19.”
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Morrison said Westland is starting to see payback on its capital investments in ITN and UHT capacity of the last few years. While these had taken longer than expected to start delivering a return, they are now adding value. “ITN volumes are significantly up this year,” he said, “and UHT is close to capacity.” Westland’s decision to enter the NZ retail consumer butter market with its Westgold brand has also paid off, Morrison said. Westland continued to work on quality issues in the plant at Hokitika. “Our percentage of ‘right first time’ processing was not good. However it has improved and that means less cost, and we are more able to deliver on time for the best price. We are still not satisfied with our performance on quality for the past year and believe this will further improve in the 2018-19 year,” Morrison said. He expects butter to continue to be a good export earner. “We see robust demand for butter in all sectors growing further
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SYNLAIT MILK has announced a similar opening forecast base milk price for the upcoming 20182019 season, at $7.00 kgMS. “We’re positive about next season but, like us, farmers should remain cautious because small changes in market dynamics can have a major influence on milk price,” said John Penno, Synlait’s managing director and chief executive. “As always, these forecasts are based on the best information available to us and we will continue to assess movements to ensure we keep our dairy farmers up to date.” Synlait’s forecast base milk price for the 20172018 season has increased from $6.50/kgMS to $6.65/kgMS. Combined with a forecast average premium payment of $0.13/kgMS, the total milk price forecast for 2017-2018 is now $6.78/kgMS. “The increase to $6.65/kgMS for this season reflects an increase in dairy commodity prices since our last update in January 2018,” said Penno. Meanwhile, Fonterra has increased its 201718 forecast farmgate milk price by 20 cents to $6.75/kgMS.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
NEWS // 15
Waving the jersey for dairying BRAD MARKHAM
THE LIFE’S work of a
Waikato Jersey breeder will be used to help inspire students about careers in the agri-food sector. Sixty-one cows from the herd of the late Bobbie Backhouse have been bought by NZ Young Farmers for its Auckland dairy farm. The 74ha property was gifted to the organisation by Donald Pearson last year. “Bobbie Backhouse was a passionate Jersey breeder who farmed near Thames. Sadly, she passed away in early 2016,” says Donald Pearson Farm board chair Julie Pirie. “Her family has decided to reduce cow numbers, so fortunately NZ Young Farmers has been able to buy a portion of Bobbie’s herd. “They’re beautiful, quiet, registered Jerseys and their breeding goes back about 50 years,” she
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Milking Shorthorns. “Donald was a passionate Milking Shorthorn breeder. His cows are lovely and quiet as well,” says Pirie. Targeted milk production in the 2018-19 season is 30,000kgMS, but Pirie hopes the farm can reach 40,000kgMS. The Donald Pearson Farm is a mix of rolling hills and steep sidlings, which means parts of the property can’t be milked off. It also has a pocket of native bush. “The farm can get quite wet. A modern herd home is used to help protect pastures from
said. The cows have all been artificially inseminated and have an average breeding worth (BW) of between 105 and 110. “They’ve come from a farm with a 10-aside herringbone shed and the Donald Pearson Farm has an 11-aside milking shed, so they’ll feel right at home,” she said. The cows were bought with money left by the late Donald Pearson, and with the proceeds of selling low-producing animals from the existing herd. This season the farm will milk 120 cows, an even split of Jerseys and
damage. It’s a real asset,” says Pirie. Grass silage will be fed in the herd home and a small amount of meal is fed through an in-shed feeding system in the milking shed. It’s hoped a new effluent system will be operating by Christmas. The Donald Pearson Farm board has hired AgFirst to supervise the farm. It has employed Tom Ruki as farm manager. “The priority at the moment is to get it up and running as a profitable dairy farm,” says Pirie. The property is surrounded by large lifestyle blocks. A plant nursery and a quarry are nearby. An open day is in the pipeline for neighbours and a stakeholder event is planned for November. The property will be run as a commercial dairy farm for the full 2018-19 season while its future as an educational farm is mapped out.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
16 // WORLD
Californian farmers battling o prices and the cost of regulation. We have the biggest farms in the US now because people need to grow to stay alive.” De Sousa’s father, Armelin, came to the US with only “money in his pocket” and now owns two farms, milking 2200 cows and running 4000 head.
RISING LAND costs,
fewer available workers and heavy state government regulation are hurting California dairy farmers. Farmers frustrated at a state government they feel doesn’t appreciate their value to the world’s fifth-largest economy grumbled to a group of Kiwi farmers who travelled to California with Alltech. They also attended the company’s annual ‘One: Ideas Conference’ in Lexington, Kentucky. Dairy farmers on California’s coast use pasture and most are certified organic to get best prices. Farmers in the nearby Central Valley use total mixed ration systems and rely on irrigation.
“My father built an empire; that couldn’t be done today,” de Sousa said. “Local dairymen say the breakeven price is rising every year. It’s now $16-$17 per hundredweight (112lb). We’re getting $11-$12 and haven’t made money in three years.
“We’re cutting costs at moment but in three years there will be a drastic minimum wage rise.” The minimum wage in California is $10/hour for a 10 hour/day, 6-day week. In 2023 this will rise to $15/hour for an 8h/day, 5-day week. Anything over 40 hours will be double time.
The de Sousas are paying $14/hour and providing housing and all utilities; they employ 20 staff on the two farms. California farmers must comply with strict environmental regulations that add more costs. The de Sousas recently had to lay concrete pads under their manure and silage,
HOG-TIED BY RULES
Modesto farmer David de Sousa.
However, the farmers visited had similar concerns about the future, notably over-regulation and looming labour shortages. When David de Sousa, a second-generation farmer south of Modesto, was asked the biggest
problem facing the dairy industry in California, he replied: “The government, no question; and the second biggest problem is the government. “We have the highest milk cost-of-production in the US because of land
FISCALINI FARMS, which milks 1500 cows at Modesta in California’s Central Valley, has won World’s Best Cheddar at the World Cheese Awards in London on three occasions for its Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar. General manager Brian Fiscalini said they began cheese making in 2000 in a bid to “escape the Californian milk pricing system”. “There either seems to be too much milk or not enough,” Fis-
calini said. “We’re not confident California will fix the system. “Here you need to get real big real fast or change the revenue market from fluid commodity milk to cheese.” Cheese sales are now 30% of his company’s revenue and the aim is to grow this to 100%, shunning investors so they can fully control the business. “Four-five years ago we were using 7% of our milk, now we’re almost at 15% of milk used.”
The dairy and cheese businesses are run separately. But under US laws the cheese business must buy its milk at market prices from the dairy. “Until we use 50% of the milk we produce, we can’t engage in a contract; we have to pay market price. California is a very hard place to do business. There is a lot of regulation and many laws are not pro-business. Dairies are going to South Dakota, Idaho and Nevada to expand.”
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
WORLD // 17
g on all fronts costing $200,000. “Now the government is talking about a ‘cow fart’ tax. Once you get into that you know your industry is over-regulated.” Property tax rates are also rising as the land values rise due to demand caused by the profitability of almond plantations. This district has doubled in value in two years from $37,500 to $75,000/ha. De Sousa said farmers can grow 2270 - 3400kg of almonds per hectare and receive $1.80/ kg. They planted 14ha of their farm in almond trees three years ago. “We’re trying to jump on the winning team,” he said. Fourth-generation farmer Jennifer Beretta, in Beretta Dairy, Santa Rosa, says the children and grandchildren of the
Fourth-generation farmer Jennifer Beretta.
Mexican immigrants who used to work on farms now want to work in factories, making workers harder to find. “When we were kids growing up on this farm, people would come here daily looking
for work. Now they don’t, but if they do, the first thing they ask is ‘do you provide a house?’ ” Californian regulations hamper building housing on a farm: this can take up to 12 months for
approval; a dairy or new barn may take 2-3 years. “Permits are crazy,” she said. • Alltech funded Stephen Cooke’s attendance at the Alltech ONE Conference and tour to California.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
18 // OPINION RUMINATING
The blame game
MILKING IT... Govern by decree
Aussies cry foul
THE MOST worrying aspect of the coalition Government’s torpedoing of the oil and gas industry is the disregard for process. A decision this big needs the Cabinet process but we now know this did not happen and that inconvenient advice from ministry officials was ignored. The Government and its apologists excuse themselves saying, in effect, ‘climate change is the nuclear issue of our generation’. In other words the end justifies the means. Such an arrogant mindset has earned NZ First, Greens and Labour a kicking; critics have obliged. Process matters when industry and jobs are on the line, so governments are obliged to at least consider costs and benefits. Climate change is the Greens’ biggest bat for beating farmers and the oil and gas policy-by-decree shows the Government is willing to appeal to a ‘moral imperative’ as its excuse for bypassing process.
FONTERRA FARMER suppliers in New Zealand are pretty happy with the $7/ kgMS opening price for the new season. However, Aussie farmers supplying Fonterra are crying foul. Fonterra Australia announced a closing price forecast for next season, starting July 1, of A$5.50 - $6.20 ($5.99/kgMS to $6.75/kgMS). An opening price will come later, Fonterra Australia says. Suppliers say the Fonterra price range is too vague. Some farmers think it’s the Canadian processor Saputo’s emergence as the biggest Australian dairy company that is causing jitters in the Fonterra Australia camp. It gives the impression that Fonterra Australia is sitting on the fence waiting for the opposition to announce a price, said one supplier.
Milk confusion NORTH CAROLINA legislators have made it clear: “If a drink doesn’t come from an animal with hooves, you can’t call it milk”. Part of the state government’s general assembly 2018 farm bill would ban the marketing of milk made from plants, including almond, coconut and soy, from being labelled ‘milk’ in North Carolina after January 1. The products could still be sold, they just couldn’t legally be labelled ‘milk’ under the proposed law. That distinction would be reserved for dairy products like milk from animals, including cows and goats. The legislators note that nearly 200 nations do not allow beverages to be labelled ‘milk’ unless they are animal products. And labelling plant-based liquids ‘milk’ is confusing to consumers, they say.
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Milk from the desert HOW LONG does it take a country to build a dairy industry? One year, Qatar would answer. This tiny Middle East oil powerhouse faces an economic blockade by its neighbours. Until June last year, Qatar imported milk from Almarai, a Saudi conglomerate. Then Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states closed their borders to punish Qatar for supporting Islamist groups and Al Jazeera, a stateowned broadcaster that criticises all the Gulf monarchies except Qatar’s. Overnight the world’s richest country (measured by income per head at purchasing-power parity) was cut off from its food supplies. It first turned to Turkey and Iran. Shoppers got a crash course in Turkish: placards in the dairy aisle of supermarkets explained that ‘süt’ meant milk. Now a 14,000-cow farm in a desert is supplying milk and dairy products to the Qataris. The tiny kingdom will soon be selfsufficient in dairy products.
MUCH CRITICISM has been voiced in recent weeks about the way the Government and Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have handled the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. Complaints have sounded loudly about their slow response and muddled approach. And -- egos galore -- self-appointed commentators in the lame-street media have added their stupid, false comments. Some of this is justified but it is unfair to sheet the blame back to MPI and the Minister of Agriculture who have worked long and hard to sort out problems caused to some degree by farmers, not to mention NAIT. Hands up all those farmers who ignored NAIT or paid it only lip service; hands up those who did cash-for-calves deals, making tracing these animals almost impossible; hands up those who didn’t fess up immediately when there was a potential problem on their farm. And of those who made claims, were they reasonable or over-the-top? When NAIT was first mooted did Feds really support it wholeheartedly. Sorry, Don Nicholson, the answer is ‘no’. As for NAIT itself, what a clunky and user-unfriendly system its designers and administrators have created; and what a mess that leaves us in. What was the role of the previous Government in all this? And why didn’t the authorities prosecute the people who ignored NAIT. When public money is being spent MPI has every right to scrutinise claims thoroughly. Those who managed the claims during the 2004 floods in the North Island tell stories of unreasonable claims that took longer to process. M.bovis is terrible for many people and Dairy News sympathises with them in this frightening and stressful time. Bowing to the slaughter of apparently healthy stock is souldestroying. But in apportioning blame, reason must prevail; it must be shared, not just sheeted back to officialdom. Some farmers have let the side down badly and the remainder, together with all New Zealanders, must now start forking out millions of dollars for their actions. Blaming just MPI and the Government is unfair. Everyone must look in the mirror and give an honest answer.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
OPINION // 19
Good stream banks always an asset LAST YEAR, a survey
was done on soil stability and disturbance in Waikato using aerial photographs taken in 2012. Of all sample points, 51.3% were stable land surfaces, 22.6% were erosion-prone but inactive and 18.8% had signs of recent (but re-vegetating) or fresh erosion. The remaining 7.3% of the sample points were extensively disturbed, where soil had been removed in whole or part, due to either the presence of rural buildings and yards, urban areas or water bodies. Under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and subsequent plan change, there is a need to protect our streams, rivers, creeks, drains, lakes, dams and wetlands from degradation and contamination by managing their banks (riparian margins). Winter weather strains the banks of farm waterways, increasing the risk of erosion. So it’s timely to look at the issues involved in erosion, and land management practices that can contribute to contamination of waterways. Some of our rivers, lakes and streams have eroding banks, silted beds, water weed infestation and degraded water quality, often the result of sub-optimal land management. Stock wading in water, poor effluent treatment, overgrazing, inappropriate fertiliser application, pugging and poor run-off control on cultivated land, roads and tracks can all contribute to the contamination of waterbodies. Pathogens like giardia and cryptosporidium can cause water-borne diseases, which in turn can cause serious health problems, while nitrates and phosphates can also create health disorders for people and stock, and contribute to algal growth. Having an appropriate buffer around waterways can reduce these effects by stabilising the banks and providing a filter for contaminants washing off
and beef properties, stock are in better health and have faster weight gain when water sources are no longer contaminated. The council’s catchment management officers are available to advise
the land. Effective management of the banks – or riparian strips – is a key to protecting aquatic life and improving water quality, generally. The mix of species to be planted within riparian areas should be carefully selected to beneficially modify what’s happening with light, temperature, nutrient and sediment loads, channel and bank stability, carbon inputs, and habitat for terrestrial species. Shrubs and trees with extensive root systems, which tolerate moist soil conditions and frequent silt deposits, are ideal for stream bank erosion control. They physically hold the stream banks together and some tree roots also protect the stream bed, limiting the scouring effect of running water. Streamside vegetation provides shade which cools the water, improves dissolved oxygen levels, helps aquatic life and reduces the risk of algal blooms. Suitable plant species beside waterways also provide cover for spawning fish, and food and habitat for nesting and juvenile birds. Streamside trees can link areas of native vegetation together, extending habitat for native birds. Besides environmental benefits, riparian planting can also help a farm’s economy. Well-designed riparian fencing can help with mustering, and protect animals from drowning or getting stuck in wet areas. The provision of shelter and shade is recognised as an important aspect of animal production and health. Improved milk grades are documented where dairy sheds no longer draw water from contaminated streams. On sheep
on soil conservation, riparian management and other good land management practices. • Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture advisor at Waikato Regional Council.
A buffer around waterways stabilises banks.
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
20 // AGRIBUSINESS
Kiwi farmers tour US STEPHEN COOKE
NEW ZEALAND dairy farm-
ers visiting California dairy farms last month were surprised at how far behind NZ farms the US ones were in efficiency and adoption of technology. Cheap, available labour does little to encourage California farmers to achieve greater efficiency. For example, one farm the Kiwis visited was milking 1600 cows in a double 25-head parallel dairy. So it took two 10-hour shifts to milk the herd. Although there is room in the parlour to expand the current
Kiwi farmers in California last month.
system to 40-head, it won’t be done until the herd expands as there is enough labour at $10/hour to continue as is. Despite this, on farms visited attention to detail was high, with
extremely low mastitis levels and a herd average of 45L/cow on one farm, thanks to a diet monitored daily. Shawn Sands, who farms at Aka Aka, said the tour showed it paid to
“focus on doing the basics right”. “Ensuring that milking policies are being followed correctly by all milking staff can cause a dramatic decrease in SCC and mastitis. “The farms that paid their staff well and treated them as part of a team had remarkable staff retention.” Most farms were also pasteurising all milk fed to calves to minimise the amount of bacteria and disease calves were exposed to. “This could be something for NZ farmers to look into, particularly with the current outbreak of M.bovis,” Sands says. • Alltech funded Stephen Cooke’s attendance at the Alltech ONE Conference and trip to California.
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IRISH GETTING READY FOR FIELDAYS IRISH FARMING gear manufacturers, supported by Enterprise Ireland, are busy setting up Fieldays sites to show their wares to the many thousands of Kiwi and overseas visitors heading there in the next few days. On display will be an integration of cutting-edge technology, data and software. For example, the key employees at Dairymaster, a 50-year-old world leader in dairy equipment manufacturing, are now the software developers and data analysts who apply their technology thinking and skills to the problem of making dairy farming more profitable. Exporting to 40 countries, the company’s emphasis on R&D gives customers performance advantages. It researches all aspects of dairy farming and dairy herds, creating technologically advanced solutions and vigorously testing those products in scientific trials for peak performance. Their systems are aimed at getting top levels of milking performance in sheds: efficient cooling systems, data solutions for sheds; and in-paddock livestock performance sensors. Their latest innovation is a smartphone app that allows farmers to remotely control their milk tanks. They have a wide product range with equipment for milking parlours, feeding, milk cooling, heat detection and automatic scrapers. Notably, Keenan has focused on maximising feed efficiency for profitable farming for 40 years. The company will show its range of mixer wagons and orbital spreaders. Its InTouch service uses telematics to connect its mixer wagons in the field to a remote data centre, allowing remote adjustment of feed mixes to optimise yield or milk production. This gives access to a team of nutritionists and to onfarm support. Keenan interprets data for 1,000,000 cows on about 10,000 farms in 25 countries. Also on show will be the Equilume bovine light mask that can increase milk yields by 9%; Grass Tech which maximises profit from fresh forage and C&F Green Energy small and medium size wind turbines for farms.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
AGRIBUSINESS // 21
Breeders celebrate TOP BULL breeders gathered in Hamilton last month to celebrate their part in the dairy industry. The elite farmers were invited to LIC’s Breeders’ Day event for having supplied bull calves to the co-op; these calves joined LIC’s Premier Sires breeding bulls last spring. Premier Sires are responsible for up to 80% of dairy cows milked on New Zealand dairy farms. LIC chairman and Nelson dairy farmer
Murray King said the breeders are an integral part of LIC and the event recognises their special partnership. “LIC is immensely proud of our partnership with these farmers, and the value it delivers on the average Kiwi dairy farm, to the industry and the NZ economy. “It’s always an honour to celebrate this elite group and acknowledge [their achievement] in breeding a bull good
enough to sire future generations of dairy cows.” When the bull calves were bought by LIC they entered the co-op’s sire proving scheme, a process that can take up to four years; only the best are chosen. Since it began 57 years ago 10,500 bulls have received the Premier Sires title. “This scheme gives farmers the confidence that their herd replacements will be better than their mothers – more effi-
cient, more fertile, more productive and more profitable,” says King. “LIC… works closely with and for our farmers, and there’s no better example than Sire Proving and the Premier Sires bulls. “By pooling information from the national herd LIC is able to select potential sires which in
Priest Solaris breeder Rowan Priest (centre) with LIC’s Simon Worth (left) and Murray King.
TWO TOP PERFORMERS TWO EXCEPTIONAL bulls last month joined LIC’s Hall of Fame, recognising the value each has contributed to dairying. Lynbrook Terrific (Jersey bull bred by Steve and Nina Ireland, Temuka) and Priests Solaris (KiwiCross bull bred by Rowan Priest, Te Aroha) are the 55th and 56th animals so recognised. Terrific and Solaris have produced 140,000 daughters in total for the national dairy herd and many sons and grandsons for the artificial breeding industry. A bull’s influence can be measured by number of inseminations, daughters milking in dairy herds nationwide and/or sons that have sired future generations of dairy cows.
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Lynbrook Terrific, the 55th animal inducted into LIC’s hall of fame.
turn benefit the full membership. “We don’t prescribe what is right for individual farmers. We provide choice so they can select the breeding programme best for their herd and business. “The breeders of these bulls, and the elite cow families they have bred over the years, are a crucial part of that.”
Make every mouthful count
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
22 // MANAGEMENT
Good lessons in three-year f PAM TIPA firstname.lastname@example.org
PASTURE WAS more
profitable in years of lower payout and better weather, but feeding PKE came into its own with higher payout and poorer weather. That appears to be an outcome of a three-year trial near Dargaville at the
Northland Agricultural Research Farm run by the Northland Dairy Development Trust. But DairyNZ principal scientist for animal science John Roche says the farm was getting a much higher response to PKE than is the average. And in all three seasons, the moderately stocked, pasture-only farmlet was profitable and could be
managed without importing supplements from offfarm. NARF farm manager Kate Reed and Northern Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) science manager Chris Boom explained in a summary to a recent field day that for three years the farm systems trial had been testing how two farms using all ‘home grown’ feed (grass-
only farm and cropping farm) compare to a farm importing palm kernel expeller (PKE farm). Stocking rate averaged 2.6 cows/ha on the grassonly farm and 2.8 cows/ha on the other two farms. The first two years of the study showed that, taking into account the costs of supplementary feeding and cropping, a grass-only farm system
may have similar or better profitability to a system using PKE. However, the third season showed a significant advantage for the PKE farm due to a challenging late winter/spring having impacted the other farms to a greater extent. The use of cropping on heavy clay soils to replace imported supplements has not proved an effec-
PROFIT VERSUS LOSS JOHN ROCHE (right) outlined the lessons learned from three years of research in Northland. Marginal milk is the extra milk produced when supplements and/or crops are used to increase MS production per cow and/or per ha. The profitability of supplementary feeds depends on the cost of this marginal milk. If the cost of marginal milk
is less than the milk price, it’s profitable. If the cost of marginal milk is more than the milk price, it’s unprofitable. The cost of marginal milk depends on: the milk production response to supplement; the price of the supplement; and any non-feed costs associated with the greater use of supplements (e.g., labour, fuel).
The average milk production response to PKE at NARF was very high: 126gMS/kg PKE DM (this ranged from 107 to 147gMS/ kg PKE DM);
In comparison, the average response in DairyBase is ~80gMS/kg supplement DM;
Because of the high milk
response to PKE, the cost of marginal milk at NARF was low: $5.30/kgMS (this ranged from $4.18 to $6.38); ■■
A recent analysis of DairyBase reported the marginal cost of milk from increased use of supplementary feeds was $7.50 - $7.66 (Ma et al., 2018).
tive strategy, the summary says. The weather was relatively kind during the first two seasons, resulting in good pasture growth and pasture cover on all farms. The late winter and early spring of the third season was challenging due to prolonged wet conditions. Pasture produc-
tion totalled 17.4, 18.8 and 17.4 tonnes DM/ha for the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 201718 seasons respectively. None of these seasons had a prolonged summer/ autumn dry. Supplement use on the PKE farm was 469, 513 and 544kgDM PKE/cow for the three sea-
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
MANAGEMENTâ€‚ // 23
r feed trial sons respectively. Crops were grown on the cropping farm totalling 23%, 21% and 25% of the farm area for the three seasons respectively. Crops sown were turnips (average yield 8.4 t DM/ha), fodder beet (during the first two seasons only -- 15.6 t DM/ ha) and maize silage (18.2 t DM/ha). In the 2015-16 season, milk production was highest on the cropping farm at 1049kgMS/ha versus 870kgMS/ha on the grassonly and 1028kgMS/ha on the PKE farm. For the 2016-17 season, production was highest on the PKE farm at 1118kgMS/ha versus 965kg and 1053kgMS/ha for the grass-only and cropping farms respectively. The challenging spring during the 2017-18 season resulted in the cows on the grass-only and crop-
ping farms being put on once-a-day milking, while the PKE farm continued through with twice-a-day milking. This gave the PKE farm a big advantage: it produced 1128kgMS/ha versus 893 and 887kgMS/ ha on the grass-only and cropping farms respectively. Poor soil structure on ex-crop paddocks hampered the cropping farm. Costs were calculated for each farm, including differential labour requirements. Over the three seasons, farm working expenses/kgMS averaged $3.97, $4.52 and $4.03 for the grass-only, cropping and PKE farms respectively. In 2015-16 with a $3.90/kgMS price, the grass-only farm had the highest operating profit at $787/ha followed by the PKE farm at $733/ ha and the cropping farm at $433/ha.
For the 2016-17 season at a $6.12/kgMS price, the PKE farm had the highest operating profit at $2887/ ha, followed by the grassonly farm at $2761/ha and the cropping farm at $2300/ha. For the 2017-18 season at a forecast $6.55/kgMS the PKE farm again had the highest operating profit at $3224/ha versus the grass-only farm at $2470/ha and the cropping farm at $1928/ha. The grass-only farm was the most profitable in the 2015-16 season, and the PKE farm was the most profitable for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. These differences were due to changes in the milk price. If a constant milk price of $4/kgMS was used for all seasons, then the grass-only farm would have been the most prof-
Cropping herd starting the first paddock of turnips.
itable in the first two seasons. Likewise, if a $6/ kgMS was used, then the PKE farm would have been most profitable in all seasons. The cropping
farm was the least profitable in all seasons, though the difference was especially great in the third season when farm production took a hit due to
the challenging spring. In practice, more capital is required to develop infrastructure and machinery and to add cows for more intensive
systems. Taking the extra capital requirement into account favours the grassonly farm which made it the most profitable during the first two seasons.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
24 // MANAGEMENT
Getting calves off to a g Dairy farmers and calf rearers will in a few months be flat-out dealing with new life on farms. AgResearch scientist Dr Sue McCoard and colleagues are working on adding valuable science and data to this important task. Peter Burke reports. SUE MCCOARD
says she and her fellow researchers, in partnership with the industry, are researching different feeds and feeding management options and their impact on whole-of-life performance. This work will help to contribute evidencebased knowledge to support best-practice feeding systems that will enable farmers and calf rearers to make decisions on options that best fit with their farming system and target outcomes. And it includes cost-benefit evaluation of early life interventions on lifetime performance. She says it’s important
to understand how feeds and feeding management affect animal performance pre- and post-weaning in dairy and dairy-beef animals. A young calf undergoes much physiological development early in life. It is important to meet the nutritional requirements of young calves during this period, especially in artificial rearing systems. McCoard says it can be a challenge with artificial rearing systems to replicate what a cow does well in caring for its offspring. They are trying to develop approaches that improve the growth, health and welfare of calves through improved nutrition.
The research includes understanding how different feeds (e.g. colostrum, milk, solid feeds) and feeding management approaches (e.g. early weaning) affect animal physiology including development and function of the digestive tract and microbiome, mammary gland and the immune system. The implications of early growth and development on lifetime performance of beef and dairy animals are also being evaluated. “The knowledge generated from this research will contribute to strategies which optimise how calves are reared, and quantify the bene-
fits of investing in the early phase of a calf’s life in terms of profitability, health and lifelong productivity. This can be challenging in artificial systems because of the pressures put on the rearers as a result of the cost of feed and labour and the number of calves born each day in seasonal systems. “It is important for us to be thinking about different rearing systems and tools to optimise calf performance. Then that thinking can lead to useful information for farmers which provides evidence of the potential benefits of the investment in calf rearing practices.”
AgResearch scientist Dr Sue McCoard.
It is important to think long term when calf rearing, and to consider the future use of the animal, e.g. replacement heifer or beef production. She says a large proportion of calves born on a dairy farm are used for beef production, therefore understanding how early-life nutrition impacts on time to slaughter, meat yield and
quality (e.g. tenderness and marbling) are as important as improving performance of dairy heifer replacements. McCoard says they have found that feeding good quality colostrum over the first two days is important the rest of the calf’s life. “This is the first milk out of the gland -- otherwise known as ‘gold
colostrum’. We already knew health benefits of feeding gold colostrum but what we have found is that there are additional benefits of feeding the gold colostrum. It doesn’t just improve immune function of the animal; it also improves the development of the gut, reduces scours (and thus health interventions) and improves growth rate
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I NUG T E RG T U R G R IU E B M T T EG I K T N A E WATER T TARNKTKANKEN CING P IR T P KP O WANT AWNN& D & O E D & E N R F W T A K E A T T W R AATER WW AN W ATE T T R E TER TAN K T A W A W TIMBER RE ET BA ANK KR T RMRB E R N E A BTG T R N IM E RM IM WATER TWAANTKT C B EI M BIE NT W I T F ET ER L LG O R G N G I C N G N I E C N I N FIMBEFREN CIRNROOLORLLRELOERLRLE FFENENCFCEING T DO R E G R OO N CIN OO DR OO DD MBBE RIFNEG TIMBER TIMBERTTIIM NC NG E G N I C N G E F F ROLL F EN CINF EN CI
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
MANAGEMENT // 25
a great start of that calf in the first five weeks of age.” The team’s research, focused on the calf rearing phase, has also highlighted that feeding greater volumes of milk accelerates preweaning growth and
improves gut and mammary gland development. Also, despite the current dogma, their research has shown that though feeding large milk volumes with no concentrates restricts rumen development pre-weaning, it
does not negatively affect the weaning transition or post-weaning growth rates. McCoard says the role of science is not to find the best calf rearing system, but to come up with evidence-based
options that help an individual farmer make decisions about what will suit their specific farming system or business goals. “Coming up with the knowledge that farmers can use to inform their decisionmaking on farm.”
Meeting the nutritional requirements of young calves is important.
INVESTMENT NOT A COST A KEY message to calf rearers, says Sue McCoard, is to get lots of information about how the calves have been managed in the first four days of life on the dairy farm -- particularly whether they have been fed ‘gold colostrum’. She says even paying a premium for calves that have been treated well and fed gold colostrum could be important for a four-day-old calf they are buying. She says in rearing systems there are many different options. “What we are trying to under-
GUTTERING & DO W N P I P E
stand is how different feeds and feeding management affect the performance of calves in a pasture based farming system once they have been weaned, and how to improve lifetime performance through early life interventions. “This work not only focuses on colostrum, milk and solid feeds (e.g. meal and pasture), but also potential novel feed additives and how to promote beneficial gut microbes that contribute to nutrition and health in calves, and rumen function in mature animals. There
was a time when the bobby-calf was seen as a by-product of the dairy industry, effectively surplus to requirements. But because of the current value of beef there is growing focus on options to use more calves for beef production and this will require a quality product.” McCoard says while genetics are important, feeds and feeding management of calves can impact lifetime performance. Their work with Hereford Friesian-cross heifers has shown that feeding
large milk volumes, plus early access to good quality pasture over the first summer and autumn, can accelerate growth and reduce time to slaughter (sold before their second winter) despite restricted early rumen development. The benefit of feeding good quality forage to calves over their first summer and autumn, irrespective of the pre-weaning rearing system, is also highlighted. While the extra investment in milk feeding is not more profitable from a financial perspective
NT E C LU S N TRAOFING TRANSLUCENT RO ROOFING
for beef production at current milk prices, this system provides additional benefits. Accelerating growth rates through improved feeding in the first six months of life can substantially increase the number of cattle sold before their second winter. Other benefits include reduced exposure during droughts and feed deficits by getting animals off the farm earlier, reducing overall feed demand, potential to reduce pasture damage and requirements for winter cropping.
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GATES C R E T E S LAB N T ES O C AAB G ES L T L A A ES G W T A G L A N ES R E T GATESC A G L S IN T AB E L T S E R E C T E N L R O AB L C C A L W S N O L E C L T L A E A W L R N L LL ALA WA LRLN NTA RNR INTEIRNTERCNOANLCWALL W EIE NEA INIT NT GATES C L WALL E R NTAES INTG A AETTES G T ES AC G AB EO NSCLR R C N SRLAE O TOEN C L E C L A W L L C A W L A L N L L R A A E W N T R N E L A T N N I R E T I N
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
26 // ANIMAL HEALTH
Vets back eradication GOOD ONFARM animal management will be essential if plans to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis are to succeed, the New Zealand Veterinary Association says. “This will be essential to stop the infection spreading and to ensure M.bovis isn’t reintroduced into NZ,” says NZVA president Dr Peter Blaikie. “From an animal welfare point of view, eradication is the best option so we should give it our best shot,” Blaikie says. “For that reason, NZVA will throw its support behind the eradication plan. “We agree with the government and industry’s assessment that eradication will not be easy and will come at huge personal and financial cost to farmers. “The government has acknowledged that there could come a time when the decision
to eradicate might be abandoned. However, that time is not now.” To give the eradication plan the best chance of succeeding, it is essential that farmers work closely with their local veterinarians, Blaikie says. “This infection is difficult to identify, hard to test for and hard to treat. For that reason, if we want to stop the spread of the bacteria it is essential that veterinarians have real and regular onfarm contact with herds. “Unless that happens, there is a real risk that new infections won’t be identified quickly enough and M.bovis could continue to spread. “There have been media reports about one of the farms involved in this outbreak using a veterinarian located 1600km away. That sort of approach will not support the eradication plan
and NZVA does not support it. “We will continue to advocate for quality onfarm relationships that support animal welfare, responsible use of veterinary medicines and strong biosecurity. This outbreak underscores how important it is for veterinarians to have a real and regular on-farm presence.” Blaikie acknowledges what a difficult time this has been for farmers, rural communities and the veterinarians working with them. “Farmers have been under a lot of pressure over recent months and widespread culling of herds will add to this distress. “I also want to acknowledge the hard work done by vets during this outbreak. At times this has been challenging and emotionally draining for them.” @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
AHD has launched a mineral tonic to boost calf health.
MINERAL TONIC SUPPLEMENT FOR CALVES HAWKE’S BAY animal health supplier AHD is fur-
Dr Peter Blaikie
ther promoting its mineral tonic for calves launched in 2017. The product, Epic, got a good reception from farmers last year, says AHD managing director Richard Kettle. “We put it on the market towards the end of the 2017 calf season and from the uniformly positive we’re expecting good uptake this year.” Epic is a palatable, ready-to-use tonic and feed supplement to help support health and growth. Used daily it will help offset stress caused by trucking, sickness, injury or nutritional scours, Kettle says. It can also be fed at a higher dose in warm water when normal feeding is disrupted by scours. A maintenance dose of 50ml/calf/day will provide copper, cobalt, iodine, zinc, aloe vera, molasses, molasweet and dextrose; it also has fluid retention properties via sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, mon-pot phosphate and sodium citrate. “This is a triple-action tonic and feed supplement, providing energy, hydration and minerals,” Kettle says. “We’re pleased with the formula and with what rearers have experienced when they used it.” The company is offering free AHD calf covers to buyers. “You can never have too many of these covers... to protect calves from bad weather. We know rearers like them because they’re always in demand.” As well as Epic, AHD offers other products for calf rearing. Virukill pen disinfectant is effective against the Mycoplasma bovis pathogen.
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
ANIMAL HEALTH // 27
Guiding cows through transition period WITHIN THE next several weeks, farmers with spring calving herds will start drafting up springer mobs. This action allows closer monitoring and management of cows that are near calving and entering the transition period. The transition period represents an extremely important window in time that spans the 3 weeks prior to calving to the first 4 weeks of lactation. A whopping 80% of disease costs are incurred in the first 4 weeks of lactation! The scale of these costs are largely determined by the management of cows through the transition period. The importance of this period from a disease prevention perspective is well recognised and has been exploited by farmers for decades, marked by the introduction of magnesium supplementation in the early to mid 80’s. More recently however, as farmers have focussed on realising the genetic potential of their herd, the goal of transition has broadened further to encompass optimal milk production and reproductive performance. As a result, the transition period has become a major focus for veterinarians, nutritionists and farm managers alike on a
global scale. There are four recognised key components to modern transition management. 1. Ensuring appropriate adaption of the rumen microbial population and structure Many cows are now fed fermentable carbohydrate post calving. The introduction of carbohydrates to cows prior to calving allows adaption prior to the cow being under ‘peak stress’. Both changes in rumen microbes as well as changes to the structure of the rumen wall occur as part of the adaption to carbohydrates in the diet. 2. Prevention of macromineral deficiency Post calving there is a two to four-fold increase in the cows’ requiremens for calcium. Major deficiencies leading to metabolic disease can be complex but are commonly associated with either failure to adapt the cow’s metabolism to
increase in requirements for minerals, or provide sufficient amounts of minerals. It is critical to realise that milk fever is considered a ‘gate-way’ disease and cows with subclinical or clinical milk fever are at far greater risk of infectious disease and suffering life threatening injury while they are down (figure 1). 3. Avoidance of excessive mobilisation of fat leading to ketosis Post calving, the cow mobilises fat reserves to meet her energy requirements. Excessive mobilisation and associated weight loss post calving dramatically increases the risk of the cow to subclinical (SCK) and clinical ketosis (CK). Both SCK and CK are associated with other detrimental health conditions such as displaced abomasum, metritis, mastitis and reproductive failure. There are many herds that have significant numbers of cows with both SCK and CK and associated animal health issues within 4 weeks of calving. 4. Optimising the cows immune function Immune function is also very complex. However, in basic terms the availability and internal regulation of important nutrients and minerals
involved in immune function is vital to optimising the cows ability to prevent disease and fight infection once introduced. Low incidence rates of the common health issues plaguing cows is reliant on the immune system functioning properly. In summary, if transition is managed properly there are significant and profound benefits to be gained for all farm systems. The good news is, with proactive planning farmers will achieve some very positive results that will translate to improved animal health, better animal welfare and enhanced profitability. If you have not done so already, now is the time to discuss transition management with your veterinarian or nutritional advisor. References: Lean. I & DeGaris. P (2016), Transition Cow Management. Dairy Australia Lean IJ (2011). Ketosis. Encyclopedia of dairy science. 2nd ed. Elsevier Science Ltd., Camden, Australia, pp 815-823.
• Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services This article is brought to you by
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
28 // ANIMAL HEALTH
Get real about milk fever MILK FEVER wastes time and massively stresses cows and farmers, says Taranaki farm consultant Pat Poletti. A cow with no milk fever is 2.5 more times likely to conceive. Milk fever causes a 14% drop in production in clinical cases and 7% in subclinical cases. Poletti told the recent BDO Farming Expo in Taranaki that his consul-
tancy Mineral Systems is succeeding against milk fever on individual farms. “We want this for all Taranaki and to show the rest of New Zealand what can be done so that the new norm is not accepting milk fever,” he says. Mineral Systems is also behind a milk fever-free Taranaki campaign which aims to get milk fever down to
FEWER DRUGS, MORE CUSTOMERS PAT POLETTI says the dairy industry is moving quickly towards more sustainable farming practices. He says animals need to be a major focus of this since they are the main source of income. Consumers are demanding sustainable dairy products and will shop elsewhere if the NZ dairy industry fails to meet their expectations. “More and more people are demanding better animal welfare and fewer drugs,” which requires fewer production diseases such as milk fever. “Fewer diseases will mean better animal health and therefore fewer drugs.”
below 1% clinical cases by 2019. Poletti says too many farms tolerate sick and down cows. “This is accepted as the norm; for every one cow that has physical disease signs there will be 20 sub-clinically affected. This means if 5% of your herd are down with milk fever in a season, the whole herd has been affected; this has a massive impact on production and other roll-on health and fertility issues.” Poletti urges farmers to “consider the whole picture” when considering fertiliser for their farms. “Too often we focus on nitrogen by fertiliser and pump this in, but it’s then toxic to cows: they don’t want to eat the grass as it tastes yuk, the grass can’t take any more and it runs into the streams. “The optimum is for cows to really want to eat, so they have to be in tip-top health and the food has to
A milk fever-free campaign is underway in Taranaki.
taste nice to them. Also they need the right vitamins. Techniques such as dusting paddocks means bossy cows eat the good grass and push others onto the dusted.” A good way to minimise fertiliser is to increase the nitrogen in soil with clover, Poletti says. The optimum level is 20-30% cover by clover; most farms have 2%, he says. “If you fertilise and look after your clover the grass grows from the nitrogen the clover generates. Cows love
clover and it also digests really well. “If you have a cow-centred focus – health and dietary management (including clover) -- this will reduce the nitrogen runoff and cows will be heathier and this equals greater production and profitability and lower animal health and fertiliser cost.” Poletti says 80% of the farms he has advised have boosted milk yield by up to 20%. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
SOUTH ISLAND DAIRY EVENT // 29
Questions aside, it’s a great event Twenty years ago the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) launched its forum for farmers to gain and apply the knowledge, skills and technology needed to improve their business. SIDE chairwoman Robyn Williams spoke about this year’s event. SIDE has moved to Dunedin for 2018. Why the change? For our 20-year anniversary we’re doing things a little differently, changing the venue and cutting down to two days, but still with time for fun and our keynote speakers and workshops. Monday night’s dinner at Forsyth Barr Stadium will have a surprise twist, and longer tea breaks will allow more networking. SIDE’s 2018 theme is ‘It starts with us’. What does this mean? Farmers can be good at putting other people first yet not paying
enough attention to their own needs. Our ‘personal wellness’ provides a strong foundation, better equipping us to help our people and businesses grow. It also enables us to take on and adapt to new innovations and technology, all of which will help to keep our sector strong. ‘It starts with us’ includes telling our good news stories nationally and internationally. What other topics will SIDE’s workshops address? All sessions will address the big issues affecting dairying, e.g. people, water, nutrients and herd performance.
‘Innovation and Technology’ will look at using technology and innovation to maintain NZ’s position at the front of global dairy markets. ‘People and Business Growth’ will address ways farmers can refocus their energy and work to take charge of their direction; this will challenge farmers’ thinking about their current situations. ‘Media, community and environmental engagement’ will look at how to engage with our wider communities, telling and celebrating our stories. SIDE aims to support anyone in dairy farming.
IT pioneer to inspire DUNEDIN COMPUTER graphics pioneer
Ian Taylor won’t have to travel far to give his take on how innovation, technology and teamwork can change the world and the dairy sector. About 450 people are expected at the 2018 South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) in June at the Dunedin Town Centre. Taylor founded Animation Research Ltd (ARS) 30 years ago after choosing Dunedin as his home town. He had been a rock singer, a soldier, a law student and a TV presenter; change had been a constant. Animation seemed an unlikely next step, but a joint venture with Otago University’s computer science department in 1989 led to the creation of ARS and a resulting revolution
in televised sport. Today ARS covers sports events worldwide and has built Formula 1 race car simulators and air traffic control simulators. Taylor says ARS’ achievements have come from a small team who, from day one, had open minds and believed there was nothing they couldn’t do. “We didn’t discover the digital world; it discovered us,” he said. “Someone invented the internet and they gave us
a highway to that world. We have been travelling it ever since.” The dairy sector will hear this and other insights when Taylor addresses the conference on June 25. Conference chair Terry Kilday says SIDE has always been led by farmers, for farmers. “Because of this, we know what is front and centre in farmers’ minds, and tailor
the event to meet these needs. “It gives them an opportunity to hear and see cutting-edge research, technologies and farming systems from leading farmers and business people. “It also brings together many enthusiastic people to share their experiences one-on-one and learn from each other to progress.”
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
30 // SOUTH ISLAND DAIRY EVENT
Tough-talking couple TWO ATHLETES
toughened in the world’s top sporting events will share their survival tips with farmers at this year’s South Island Dairy Event (SIDE). Multisport athletes Richard and Elina Ussher will join a line-up of experts from many fields at the event. The theme for this year’s SIDE is ‘It starts with us’, referring to four
practical things farmers can do to improve their farm business: personal wellness, innovation and technology, people and business growth, and media, community and environmental engagement. The Usshers say learning to co-operate, as a couple and in a larger team, is a key to their success. They will speak about personal wellness.
Then there’s Sir Graham Henry on building an environment of high performing teams. Media, community and environmental engagement are now much more important for dairy farmers, so NZME managing editor Shayne Currie will open a window on his world, essential in this era of social media and ‘citizen journalism’. SIDE committee
member and organiser Helen Shrewsbury says the event is as relevant and fresh today as it was 20 years ago when it began. “With 10,000 registrations since it started in 1999, SIDE goes from strength to strength, while following the original purpose and aims. “The event is organised by farmers and gives them opportunity to talk to other farmers and learn from their experiences
and successes; the topics and workshops are current, relevant and give real value. “I like how SIDE is looking at other industries to get insights from their experiences on teamwork, innovation and staff retention.” Committee member Andrew Calder says farmers retain a controlling say in how SIDE evolved and is presented. “That remains a strong message today.”
Richard and Elina Ussher.
Speaking of this year’s programme Andrew says, “I like the diversity of speakers. Science, proven innovations, and
best practise being demonstrated is good to see. This is a terrific forum for our industry’s research and development.”
FROM WATER TO WELLNESS THE MAIN issues affecting dairy-
WITH 25-26 June 2018
ing -- people, water, nutrients and herd performance -- will be interwoven with the overall theme of SIDE 2018 (‘It starts with us’) and four main sub-themes. Attendees can choose from 22 workshops on personal wellness, innovation and technology, people and business growth and media, community and environmental engagement. The conference’s new format includes some longer in-depth sessions, and shorter, ‘high energy’ workshops with practical applications. The workshops will provide information and stuff delegates can work with immediately. Personal wellness will start with ‘The human sustainability project’, a panel-style interactive workshop with three health professionals to get delegates thinking about how
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they can maximise their potential to farm well now and in the long run and avoid letting poor health and habits make choices for them. Workshops on personal challenges and growth opportunities, decisionmaking and life changing events on farm will highlight the importance of good health and wellbeing for farming success. Biosecurity, the future of food, hydrology, future farm systems, genetics and innovation will be covered in ‘Innovation and Technology’ workshops. For example, Dawn Dalley from DairyNZ and Robyn Dynes from AgResearch will explore whether nutrient limits and greenhouse gas reductions can be achieved in a profitable farm system; they will speak about innovations, technologies and farm system designs that contribute to reducing the environmental footprint.
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Financial sustainability – ‘futureproofing’ a business – will be the subject of Bex Warburton’s workshop on ‘Making today’s dreams tomorrow’s reality’. This will offer ideas and information on how farmers can analyse their businesses. And for farmers at the top of their game, what next? How can they make the ‘people stuff’ onfarm easier? For example, culture change, emotional intelligence, management practice, etc. ‘Media, community and environmental engagement’ will address building a positive farm culture, public perception and telling your story. These workshops will suggest how to get your story across locally or nationally. And one session is devised specifically for rural professionals and the role they play in industry wellbeing.
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MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 31
Ranger soon on the prowl Ford’s new Ranger launching October.
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the ute market for the last three years, Ford NZ says it will launch its 2019 Ranger in October. The 2019 Ranger builds on its solid workhorse credentials and the refinement of new powertrain options that should appeal to more customers for a wider variety of uses. Part of the new offering will be the option of the latest new-generation 2.0L Bi-Turbo diesel engine for the Wildtrak version, already seen in the off-road themed Ranger Raptor. The new BiTurbo will deliver an extra 10kW at 157kW, with torque increased to 500Nm from 1750rpm, both achieved with the use of two-stage sequential turbocharging, said to deliver efficiency, performance and smoothness. The new powerplant is coupled to an advanced 10-speed torque-convertor automatic to bring improved flexibility and a quieter, more comfortable drive to the new Ranger, with the close ratios reducing gaps in power and acceleration to make steep, slippery hill-climbs, for instance, much easier. The Ranger’s proven 3.2L turbo-diesel promises an outstanding pay-
LED daytime running lights and HID headlights. There’s also clearer distinction between models visually, with bumper treatments and colours unique to each model. The Ranger will be offered with passive entry passive start, keyless entry and push-button start as standard on the XLT and Wildtrak, and a host of upgrades to inner surfaces for a quality feel and a
matic parallel parking, with the driver needing only to apply the throttle and brakes as the system steers the Ranger into the parking space. And a new easy-lift tailgate requires 70% less initial force to raise it for closing. In the looks department there’s a cleaner new grille with distinctive ‘nostrils’, a more chiselled lower bumper and, for the Wildtrak and XLT,
load and towing -- 3500kg on all 3.2L-powered Rangers in all body styles and transmission options. Offering147kW/470Nm, the 3.2L comes with a sixspeed torque converter automatic transmission -- the sole choice because manual transmissions have been dropped. In the Range 2019, Ford’s pre-collision assist uses inter-urban autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection and vehicle detection at any speed to detect pedestrians, objects and vehicles; these bring the Ranger to a stop, mitigating rear-end collisions and collisions with pedestrians. The system, which functions at speeds above 3.6km/h, is standard on the Ranger Wildtrak. Then there’s traffic sign recognition, which identifies traffic signs at the side or above the road, permanent or temporary, and displays them in the instrument cluster. Lane keeping alert and lane keeping aid, and adaptive cruise control with forward alert, are also now fitted in the Ranger Wildtrak, reducing driver workload to help with short-term attentiveness and longer journey driver fatigue. In a segment first, the 2019 Ranger Wildtrak also has active park assist to enable semi-auto-
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
32 // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Film wrap on bales proving a winner on farm MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
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wrap unit is proving its worth to Wairarapa dairy farmer Lewis Herrick by enabling him to use net-wrap or a net replacement film for the first time. Lewis has been trialling the machine since the last baling season, tweaking the set-up of the unit to meet local
conditions. “We’ve tested in all kinds of weather, including the wind and the damp, and different crops,” he says. “Of the 1500 bales I’ve wrapped this year I’ve used film on 500 and can see huge savings on baling time already.” In a season dictating that feedingout began in December, Lewis notes that film-wrapped bales are much easier to unwrap than conventional net-wrapped; the film doesn’t get
caught in parts of the bale feeder as can happen with net. Stored bales also appear to be in better condition with the film system, no doubt helped by being packed tightly, stopping air ingress and leading to less rodent or bird damage, which should all contribute to less spoilage over the longer term. Lewis believes bales will be able to stay wrapped for a couple of years. As well as big improvements in bale
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quality there are also useful cost savings by using only four layers of film rather than the usual six, because the film put on in the chamber offers more protection than net. When net is required, changeover from film to net and vice versa is a simple process. John Tulloch, of Tulloch Farm
Machines, said another test rig in Southland has been seen to reduce the effect of windy conditions when the wrap is being used; he also notes that less air gets into the bales, meaning that along with less spoilage the quality of silage will improve for farmers and contractors using it.”
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unveiled in Korea. “The acceptance of the hybrid and plug-in hybrid Niro models by New Zealand buyers has been exceptional,” says Todd McDonald, general manager of Kia Motors NZ. “There is a place in the market for a welldesigned SUV with astonishingly low fuel consumption”. The Niro EV is powered by Kia’s nextgeneration electric vehicle powertrain. Equipped with a high-
capacity 64kWh lithiumpolymer battery pack, the Niro EV is reckoned to do at least 380km on a single charge or up to 240km when paired with an optional 39.2kWh battery system. Described as sporty and versatile, the vehicle is the work of Kia’s design centres in California and Namyang, Korea. It will be launched in the home market in late 2018 and in NZ in 2019. @dairy_news facebook.com/dairynews
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DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
MACHINERY & PRODUCTS // 33
Sturdy, simple MARK DANIEL firstname.lastname@example.org
recently launched by Power Farming Wholesale follows on from its introduction in Australia. Powered by a 4-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engine meeting Stage 3A emission standards, the tractors offer a combination of sturdy construction and simplicity, while an electronic engine governor reacts instantly to power demand and load and helps optimise fuel consumption. The 30F+15R speed transmission consists of a five main speeds, with three work ranges and underdrive, selected by levers to the right of the seat and a dashboard mounted shuttle lever; maximum speed is 40km/h. The hydraulic system comprises separate layouts for steering and rear hydraulics, with the former offering a hydrostatic system, combining with a 55-degree steering angle for tight turns. At the rear of the tractor, an open centre 42L/min pump configu-
Deutz Fahr 4080.4 E
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offers driver comfort, reduced vibration and noise; productivity can be further enhanced with the fitment of a German built factory loader that includes a third service and 1.5m bucket @dairy_news
POLARIS HAS introduced the Ranger 150 EFI, for riders 10 years or older. This offers rider-safety technology designed for parents’ peace of mind while giving young riders the fun of driving their own vehicle. Using a Ride Command app downloaded to a phone or tablet, and the vehicle’s digital display, adults can set riding boundaries for kids using a geo-fencing feature. Also, a digital speed limiter sets speed limits inside and outside the pre-set riding areas, restricting kids to a speed appropriate to their age, experience and terrain. A passcode-protected safe-start system controls who is operating the vehicle and when it’s operated, and a seatbelt interlocking device limits maximum speed to 9.7km/h until the seat belt is engaged. The machine comes
with a high-visibility flag, two helmets, a protective cage, safety nets and LED daytime-running and rear lighting. Painted in Solar Red, the Ranger 150 EFI is a two-seater powered by an electronic fuel-injected 150cc engine, with tilt steering and a 14.5-cm seat slider adjustable to the size of the rider. It has 20cm ground clearance and 22-inch all-terrain tyres, a 22.7kg rear box capacity and options including roof, full or half windshields and front and rear bumpers.
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O N E N AM E COV E R S I T A L L
DAIRY NEWS JUNE 12, 2018
34 // MACHINERY & PRODUCTS
Love it or hate it MARK DANIEL email@example.com
LIKE VEGEMITE you either love it or hate it. The Mercedes AMG G 63, in a shape and
stance little changed in almost 40 years, has seen mechanical, safety, technology and equipment updates to make the latest model as desirable and tough as ever. Performance comes
from a bi-turbo 4.0L V8, making 430kW of power and 850 Nm of torque, channelled through an AMG Speedshift TCT 9-speed automatic transmission to a permanent all-wheel-drive system,
SEAT COVERS For Utes, Vans, Trucks, Quads + more
including a low-range ratio with shift-on-themove, with a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds. AMG Ride Control offers adaptive damping, and the G63 travels on 21-inch AMG 5 twin-
SEE US AT SITE #C89
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spoke alloy wheels. The suspension is much improved with a front independent suspension system replacing a front live axle. The driver may use the new AMG Ride Control adaptive damping feature to select ‘comfort’, ‘sport’ or ‘sport+’ suspension profiles. Size and space have increased all round, including length (+110mm); width (+106mm); wheelbase (+40mm). Ground clearance improves to 238mm (+3mm), and fording depth to 700mm (+100mm). Outside, the Mercedes-AMG G 63 is distinguished for the first time by an AMG Panamericana grille plus AMG body styling, metallic paint, side
with 64 colours and eight colour schemes; a parking package with active parking assist and a 360° camera; a sliding glass sunroof with tilt; a selectable AMG sports exhaust system; Keyless-Go starting; and an AMG steering wheel in Nappa leather. Further equipment includes three 100% differential locks, plus an off-road information centre; the Dynamic Select function so the driver can choose from several pre-set driving profiles, or customise their own via the ‘Individual’ feature. And there are electronically adjustable front seats, steering column and mirrors with memory function and heated seats (front and outer rear).
running boards, red AMG brake calipers and two chrome-plated twin tailpipes on either side. Safety is via nine airbags, including rear seat airbags and a knee airbag, plus the Distronic active distance assist system with active lane keeping assist. Other key measures include blind spot assist, active brake assist, traffic sign assist, and the Pre-Safe system that prepares the vehicle and occupants if a collision is inevitable. In the well-appointed cabin, several features never-before-seen on the G-Class include two 12.3-inch widescreen displays, a new Burmester surround sound system with 15 speakers and 590 watts; ambient lighting
I don’t need a Milking Machine Check
“Designed by a Farmer for Farmers”
Mystery Creek Field Days Site G41
Your Milking Machinery is one of the most expensive and by far the most vital piece of equipment on your farm, which is why it is crucial to ensure it is always working at its best.
Milking machines that perform at full capacity maximize profitability and minimize risks for your herd Book your test now with a Registered Milking Machine Tester listed at www.nzmpta.co.nz
PHONE 0800 4 AGBITS | 0800 4 242 487 WEBSITE www.agbits.co.nz
It is now a requirement to have your milking machine tested annually by a MPTA Registered Tester.
Ph: 027 449 7402
Refer NZCPI: Design & Operation of Farm Dairies - Code of Practice (page 48)
IT HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN YOU’D THINK. When you’ve been a rural insurer for as long as we have, you’ve seen most things before. Which is why at FMG, we recommend Liability cover* that protects you against damage to other people’s property – like when your stock gets onto public roads and causes chaos. It’s the kind of advice that really makes a difference in the country. If you’d like to know more about it, go to fmg.co.nz. Or better still, call us directly on 0800 366 466. *See fmg.co.nz for product terms & conditions
We’re here for the good of the country. FMG0688DNFP_SC
Dairy News 12 June 2018